Japanese prime minister says postponing Tokyo Olympics could become an option
In New Zealand, the director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there were 36 new cases of coronavirus registered by 8am this morning, bringing the country’s total to 102 cases.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern will hold a press conference in 30 minutes and reveal more about the nation’s alert level.
Dr Bloomfield hinted the country may move up a level, as two cases of the virus had not been ruled out as community transmission. There are four alert levels in New Zealand and the country is currently at level 2 – containing the virus. Level four would mean the entire country shut down, except for health and essential services.
“Of the cases today over half are directly related to overseas travel, most of the remainder are close contacts of a previously confirmed case or associated with an event where there were confirmed cases such as the Queenstown World Hereford Cattle conference,” Dr Bloomfield said.
“More than 1,100 laboratory tests were carried out yesterday, bringing the total number of completed tests to over 7400.”
“Most of our cases are still from people who have travelled to NZ from overseas.”
The Australian market plunged more than 8% on Monday morning amid uncertainty over the effects of a shutdown of hospitality and entertainment operators announced by prime minister Scott Morrison on Sunday night.
Monday’s losses are on top of more than a month of coronavirus-inspired selling that has already cut the value of Australian shares by a third.
Before the market opened, gambling company Tabcorp said its totalisator outlets and on-course betting, both of which are to be shut, accounted for about 28% of its revenue.
With this money now set to be ripped away, the company said it withdrew its previous profit guidance.
A raft of companies temporarily halted trade in their shares to give them time to respond to the new restrictions, including Star Entertainment, which operates Sydney’s casino, and Retail Food Group, which is the franchisor of fast food outlets including Gloria Jean’s coffee shops and pizza joints Pizza Capers and Crust.
Village Roadshow said it was closing Gold Coast theme parks Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild and Paradise Country, but Sea World would remain open because it has a hotel.
Airline Virgin Australia, which along with rival Qantas has already slashed flights as travel restrictions bite, said it “expects a material reduction in its domestic capacity as a result” of new travel bans announced by state and federal authorities over the weekend.